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8th book post March 18, 2010

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In this chapter, Gladwell concludes with an account of the type of solution that reflects an understanding of the concept of the tipping point: A nurse seeking an effective, low-cost way to raise breast cancer awareness among African-American women shunned traditional routes and enlisted the help of hairstylists. In this environment, she reasoned, most people are relaxed and receptive to new information in a way that most education efforts can’t duplicate. Gladwell acknowledges that this type of thinking is often derided as being a “band-aid” solution that treats symptoms, rather than underlying problems. However, he asserts that these solutions are often the very type of cumulative, low-key approach that can, over time, build to a tipping point of massive popularity and influence.

To  me what i believe he actually means by this is like if there is a problem or a situation that needs fixing like for instance if your problem statement is too vague, then you will likely struggle with trying to come up with valid solutions. Also, if the problem statement is too encompassing, then a solution might be too complex to easily implement. For example, if we decide that the problem we want to overcome is poor customer service, then the group is likely to spend countless hours trying to first define customer service, and then coming up with every solution under the sun to try to fix the customer service problem.

A common error at this point in the process is to jump right into looking for solutions to the problem before trying to identify the root causes of the problem. This usually results in a “band-aid” solution or a solution that just treat symptoms. It would be like reaching under your dashboard and clipping the wire to your “Check Engine” light. Sure you won’t see the light anymore, but the underlying root cause and root problem in the engine is still there.

 

7th book post March 14, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — samhain1031 @ 5:17 am
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In another case study, Gladwell discusses the relationship between a sudden, alarming rise in suicide among adolescent males in Micronesia and the persistent problem of teen cigarette use in the United States. In both instances, teens were induced to become involved in potentially lethal experimentation. Gladwell asserts that both trends were predicated upon two main factors. First, teenagers are inherently, perhaps even genetically predisposed to imitate others and try on new behaviors and attitudes during adolescence. Second, the types of the people who are more likely to engage in dramatic, easily romanticized behavior such as early cigarette smoking or suicide are also more likely to be those that others tend to gravitate toward and seek to emulate.

Gladwell also considers the origins and implications of the curiously large middle ground that exists between those who abstain altogether from potentially dangerous activities, and those who engage in them in a consistently low-level manner. In terms of cigarette use, these “chippers” typically never smoke enough to tip into full-blown addiction, and thus escape most of the ill effects of long-term tobacco use. Gladwell suggests that infrequent teenage experimentation with drugs or smoking should not be regarded with hysteria, but rather, should be accepted as inevitable and is, in all likelihood, benign.

 

6th book post

Filed under: Uncategorized — samhain1031 @ 5:14 am
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In this case study-oriented chapter, Gladwell discusses the rise and decline of Airwalk shoes. The brand was originally geared towards the skateboarding subculture of Southern California, but sought to transcend this niche market and attain national name recognition. They succeeded in this endeavor with the help of an advertising agency with a unique understanding of the factors and variables that influence the public’s perception of “coolness.” The marketing campaign ruthlessly honed in on and exploited several timely avatars of coolness, such as Tibetan Buddhism, pachuco gang culture, and hipsters’ ironic embrace of preppy culture, rendering Airwalk shoes cool by association in the process.

The company’s unique strategy of offering unique products to boutique stores and a more mainstream shoe selection to department stores had long kept both cutting-edge hipsters and their more mainstream, impressionable counterparts content. However, as a cost-cutting measure, Airwalk eventually began providing all of its distributors with a single line of shoes. The delicate balance that had long rendered the company’s products cool in the minds of the public was disturbed, and sales declined significantly.

 

5th book post February 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — samhain1031 @ 4:27 am
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Clearly, in order for a trend to tip into massive popularity, large numbers of people need to embrace it. However, Gladwell points out that groups of certain sizes and certain types can often be uniquely conducive to achieving the tipping point. He traces the path of the novel The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood from regional cult favorite to national best-seller. Gladwell notes that the unique content of the novel appealed strongly to reading groups of middle-aged women in Northern California, and that these women were uniquely well-positioned to catapult the book to national success as a result of an informal campaign of recommendations and advocacy.

Gladwell also remarks upon the unusual properties tied to the size of social groups. Groups of less than 150 members usually display a level of intimacy, interdependency, and efficiency that begins to dissipate markedly as soon as the group’s size increases over 150. This concept has been exploited by a number of corporations that use it as the foundation of their organizational structures and marketing campaigns.

 

4th book post

Filed under: Uncategorized — samhain1031 @ 4:26 am
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Another crucial aspect of the complex processes and mechanisms that cause trends to “tip” into mass popularity is what Gladwell terms the Power of Context. If the environment or historical moment in which a trend is introduced is not right, it is not as likely that the tipping point will be attained. To illustrate the power of context, Gladwell takes on the strangely rapid decline in violent crime rates that occurred in the 1990s in New York City.

Although Gladwell acknowledges that a wide variety of complex factors and variables likely played a role in sparking the decline, he argues convincingly that it was a few small but influential changes in the environment of the city that allowed these factors to tip into a major reduction in crime. He cites the fact that a number of New York City agencies began to make decisions based on the Broken Windows theory, which held that minor, unchecked signs of deterioration in a neighborhood or community could, over time, result in major declines in the quality of living.

To reverse these trends, city authorities started focusing on seemingly small goals like painting over graffiti, cracking down on subway toll skippers, and dissuading public acts of degeneracy. Gladwell contends that these changes in the environment allowed the other factors, like the decline in crack cocaine use and the aging of the population, to gradually tip into a major decline in the crime rate in the city.

 

3rd book post

Filed under: Uncategorized — samhain1031 @ 4:25 am
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Another crucial factor that plays a key role in determining whether a trend will attain exponential popularity is what Gladwell terms “the stickiness factor.” This refers to a unique quality that compels the phenomenon to “stick” in the minds of the public and influence their future behavior.An interesting element of stickiness, as defined by Gladwell, is the fact that it is often counterintuitive, or contradictory to the prevailing conventional wisdom. To illustrate this point, Gladwell undertakes an in-depth discussion of the evolution of children’s television between the 1960s and the 2000s.The PBS show Sesame Street represented a vast improvement in the “stickiness” of children’s television, in large part because it turned many of the long-established assumptions about children’s cognitive abilities and television-watching behaviors on their heads. These changes, based in large part on extensive research, resulted in a show that actually helped toddlers and preschoolers develop literacy.Years later, the television show Blue’s Clues applied many of these same techniques to Sesame Street itself, resulting in the development of a program that research has shown can generate significant improvements in children’s logic and reasoning abilities. The attribute of stickiness, Gladwell argues, often represents a dramatic divergence from the conventional wisdom of the era.

 

Media History Timeline February 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — samhain1031 @ 9:19 pm
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http://timeglider.com/app/